WVAU 2017: MOST UNDERRATED ALBUM

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WVAU 2017: MOST UNDERRATED ALBUM

Calkie Fisseha, General Manager

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It is an understatement to say Take Me Apart is a perfect album. With crystals dangling from her locs and nails and her stylish all white-outfits, Kelela is not a force to be reckoned with. Her debut, Take Me Apart, is one of the most beautiful albums of 2017. The October release quickly found itself on many “Best of‰” lists for the year.

R&B is a hard genre to compete in, but Kelela rises above all. Throughout the years, her name has remained a constant in conversations regarding the future of music. Her earlier works, Cut 4 Me and Hallucinogen garnered critical acclaim and introduced the world to the powerhouse she would become.

The cover of Take Me Apart is the perfect introduction to the music that lies inside. Kelela, stretch marks and all, sits nude with long locs draped over her body. An orange curtain acts as a backdrop for the candid photo. In the bottom right corner, her name is spelled out in Amharic. It may seem like a small detail, but it‰’s so much more. Kelela reminds every person who listens to the album of her Ethiopian heritage. There is no better way to foreshadow the brilliantly personal music to come.

Kelela‰’s voice can make any situation feel beautiful. “LMK‰” describes all the feelings of a night out. “Frontline‰” is the powerful break up song we all need. “S.O.S‰” is the “I can do bad all by myself, but you can help me out‰” continuation of the classic Tweet song we all know and love. The album takes you on an adventure through heartbreak, self-discovery, and new love. Each song has a delicate, yet powerful feel to it. Throughout her discography, Kelela has always had the perfect production to match her vocals, but nothing rivals Take Me Apart. If the song doesn‰’t make you dance, it moves you emotionally. “Bluff‰” is a short ballad that incorporates a signature trap beat. Very few people can pull this off as well as Kelela did. She is the truth.

A personal favorite is “Waitin‰Û. Nothing on earth makes me feel as good as this song does. It‰’s unlike anything I‰’ve ever heard. The beat and vocals come together in a way that makes me feel certain that God is a black woman.

Although this is an article on Take Me Apart, there is no way to talk about the album without discussing the tour and interviews that surround it. Her sold-out show at U Street Music Hall gave fans the showcase they hoped for. The angelic performance from Kelela and her backing band allowed a live insight into the musical genius that they adore. Hundreds of fans packed into the room to see her perform and it was well worth it.

Kelela‰’s cover story on The Fader gives an even deeper look into her mind. Everything about the piece was put together by black women, which was very important to Kelela. She is no stranger to standing up for what‰’s right. As a black woman in the music industry, Kelela has fought hard for respect. Along the way, she has always reminded the world that black women are should not be overlooked.

Kelela‰’s success is especially notable because she did it on her own time. She released her debut album 4 years after her first project. It‰’s personal and cohesive, fluid and emotional. Kelela took herself apart and the result is magical.

I cannot put into words how Take Me Apart makes me feel. I‰’ve adored Kelela for a while now, but this album confirmed that she is just as wonderful as I thought she was. We are the daughters of Ethiopian immigrants, grew up in the DMV and we both attended American University. Most importantly, we are June Geminis. She is the big sister I have always wanted.

Check out her interview in The Fader. Take Me Apart is available in stores and on your favorite streaming platforms. Go support this amazing woman.